A lawyer and Senior Vice President of IMANI-Africa, Kofi Bentil, has stated that the actions taken by the Electoral Commission (EC) in the ongoing voter registration process appear is aimed at depriving many Ghanaians of their voting rights.
He argued that the EC has a constitutional duty to expand and carry out specific programs and possesses the necessary resources to fulfill this obligation.
Bentil pointed out that deviating from this constitutional mandate could potentially result in the removal of Electoral Commissioners from their positions.
Speaking to the media on a Saturday, he clarified that the issue goes beyond neglecting responsibilities; it also involves actively obstructing people’s right to register.
“In omission and commission, it’s not a matter of just omitting, like they are not doing anything; the suggestion is that there will be problems with people exercising their rights to register,” he explained.
According to Bentil, the primary purpose of the EC is to address obstacles and facilitate the voter registration process, and therefore, they should proactively implement measures to enhance the exercise.
He emphasized, “The EC was set up to take away those problems, clear the way, and create situations that will enable people to register. So they should actually do things, commit actions that will expand registration.”
Bentil maintained that, in this case, if the EC is not doing this at all, then they are neglecting their duty, but as he sees it, they are actually taking steps and committing actions to prevent people from registering, which directly contradicts their mandated role.
He also criticized the utilization of state resources to undermine public policy objectives, stating, “We should all be mindful when we do some of these things.”
Bentil’s comments come after the EC’s announcement that the voter registration exercise would only occur at its district offices across the country, a decision that has faced opposition from many political parties, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC)
and four other parties who have sued the EC over its insistence on conducting the limited voter registration exercise in this manner. These parties argue that the decision could disenfranchise eligible voters and have taken the matter to the Supreme Court.